Homepage » Programme Syllabus » Contemporary Turkey: Domestic and Foreign Policy


INSTRUCTOR: Thanos Dokos, General Director, ELIAMEP.

This course aims at providing students with an understanding of Turkish foreign policy in conjunction with Turkish domestic politics. The first element of the course (foreign policy bring out Turkey’s role as a regional player in multiple regions (Middle East, Black Sea, Southeastern Europe, Caucasus), as a member of NATO and, more recently, as a candidate for EU membership, and also explains developments in the era of AKP government since2002 inorder to explain Turkey’s regional and global visibility and influence. The second element of the course (domestic politics) discussesTurkey’s status as a one-party constitutional democracy or as an ‘imperfect democracy’, with a history of successive army interventions and, subsequently, with the rise to power of the moderate Islamic AKP and the turn of Turkish society towards religious conservatism. The course is organized on a chronological basis, with simultaneous coverage of foreign and domestic policy issues.   

The course begins by an introductory lecture on main global and regional trends, as well as the basic characteristics of the current international system in order to give students an understanding of the position and role of a middle-power like Turkey in the regional and international context. The following two weeks are devoted to providing essential historical background, covering the main domestic political developments in theOttoman Empirefrom the eighteenth century till its early twentieth century demise, as well as Ottoman foreign policy and the role of Great Powers.

 During the next four weeks, the domestic politics and foreign policy of the Turkish Republic since 1923 are examined: the Ataturk era, the neutrality period, the association with the West, the evolution to a multiparty political system, the Cyprus issue, military involvement in politics, and the various coups d’ etat, and the end of the Cold War and the impact on Turkish foreign policy. All of those topics are then examined in the mid-term exam and the course continue with the post-Cold War era, the AKP period, current political developments and the new Turkish foreign policy.

The final four weeks take a seminar form, with the presentation of student papers, and a concluding discussion on the future challenges and prospects forTurkey’s political system and foreign policy and the course concludes with the final exam on all topics discussed.